Linking sensory biology and fisheries bycatch reduction in elasmobranch fishes: a review with new directions for research
Incidental capture, or bycatch, in fisheries represents a substantial threat to the sustainability of elasmobranch populations worldwide. Consequently, researchers are increasingly investigating elasmobranch bycatch reduction methods, including some focused on these species' sensory capabilities, particularly their electrosensory systems. To guide this research, we review current knowledge of elasmobranch sensory biology and feeding ecology with respect to fishing gear interactions and include examples of bycatch reduction methods used for elasmobranchs as well as other taxonomic groups. We discuss potential elasmobranch bycatch reduction strategies for various fishing gear types based on the morphological, physiological, and behavioural characteristics of species within this diverse group. In select examples, we indicate how an understanding of the physiology and sensory biology of vulnerable, bycatch-prone, non-target elasmobranch species can help in the identification of promising options for bycatch reduction. We encourage collaboration among researchers studying bycatch reduction across taxa to provide better understanding of the broad effects of bycatch reduction methods.